Good Afternoon Valued Clients, Friends and Family,

Summer is almost over, yet things are still heating up, figuratively and literally. We have extreme weather from the East to the West coast, the DNC has gone virtual, the USPS is in trouble, Israel and the UAE talk peace, and the market continues its momentum.

Across the United States we have been experiencing extreme weather conditions, from California’s record-breaking heatwave to the destructive storm that hit the Midwest deemed “Iowa’s Katrina”. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat advisory for much of the state with temperatures reaching triple digits in Northern, Central, and Southern California. Death Valley reached a shocking 130 degrees on Sunday, making it one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded there. Last Friday, to conserve energy, California issued a rolling blackout for the first time in 19 years. This has allowed the state to avoid potential outages, for the time being. On Tuesday, Gov. Newsom declared a statewide emergency due to the wildfires burning throughout the Golden State. The LNU Lightning Complex fire, caused by the lightning strikes, has burned more than 124,000 acres in northern Calfironia. Travis Air Force Base and neighborhoods of Fairfield and Vacaville were issued a mandatory evacuation. In the Midwest, a hurricane-like derecho storm with winds up to 112 mph ripped through Iowa leaving thousands without power and more than 37 million acres of crops flattened.The White House quickly approved an emergency declaration to supply federal money to help Iowa recover.

For the first time ever, which seems to be a recurring theme for 2020, this week the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is being held virtually due to the pandemic. Beginning Monday night, speeches made by Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Jill Biden, Fmr. President Barack Obama, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden all took place in in their own homes to practice social distancing. The convention concludes tonight making the nomination of Biden and Harris official for the Democratic Party. This coming Monday, the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) begins and will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On another note, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will not implement any modifications until after the election just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a statement Tuesday affirming the Postal Service is ready and able to handle the volume of election mail for millions of Americans, this coming fall. Dejoy also assured retail hours would not change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain, facilities will remain open, and would continue to reassert overtime as needed.

In international news, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) made a historic agreement, known as the Abraham Accord, to establish normal relations between the two countries. The New Israel-UAE Peace Deal, overseen by the Trump Administration, gives hope that Israel will be able to widen their formal diplomatic relations with other Arab nations in the Persian Gulf. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to delay the annexation of portions on the West Bank, but the plans remain “on the table”. If everything goes smoothly, the UAE would be the first Gulf state to recognize and normalize relations with Israel.

Back in the U.S., Apple made history Wednesday when it became the first publicly traded U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion market value. Apple was also the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach $1 trillion just over 2 years ago and was at $1.5 trillion just 2 months ago. And it’s not just Apple that is lifting the markets, as the entire tech sector of the S&P 500 is up over 26% year-to-date compared with the S&P’s year-to-date performance of roughly 4%. That same day, San Francisco-based vacation rental company, AirBnb, announced a confidential IPO filing with the SEC. Despite the confidence of the market,  we are reminded of the effects from the pandemic with unemployment claims unexpectedly increasing to 1.1 million ending the week of 8/15.

As we near the end of August, please call our office toll free at (888) 253-0288 or email to schedule a Financial Planning appointment to review your financial goals and get an in-depth look at your current finances.  Another reminder for those of you who took a retirement distribution and qualify for it to be reversed through the CARES Act, the deadline given by the IRS to roll back into your retirement account is Monday, August 31, 2020.

Stay safe, stay cool, stay hydrated.

Warmest regards,

Rhonda Ducote